Jul 22, 2013

Florida Man, Corporation Sentenced for Wetlands Violations

Brian D’Isernia and his corporations sentenced for  illegal dredging and wetlands violations

Florida Wetland Violations Brian Raphael D'Isernia Lagoon Landing LLC

Brian Raphael D’Isernia, 69, of Panama City Beach, Fla., and Lagoon Landing LLC, a corporation controlled by D’Isernia, were sentenced in federal court in the Northern District of Florida for illegal dredging and felony wetlands violations in Panama City. The two defendants were ordered to pay a criminal fine totaling $2.25 million dollars, the largest criminal fine assessed for wetlands-related violations in Florida history. D’Isernia was sentenced to pay a $100,000 criminal fine, while Lagoon Landing LLC was sentenced to pay a $2.15 million criminal fine, a $1 million community service payment and a term of three years probation.

D’Isernia pleaded guilty to knowingly violating the Rivers and Harbors Act. D’Isernia was charged with dredging an upland cut ship launching basin in Allanton and the channel connecting it to East Bay between December 2009 and February 2010 without obtaining a permit.

Lagoon Landing LLC, pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Water Act for knowingly discharging a pollutant into waters of the U.S.without a permit. Between 2005 and 2010, Lagoon Landing, through its agents and employees in conjunction with persons using tractors and other heavy equipment, altered and filled wetland areas of property it controlled in Allanton without obtaining a permit. The wetland areas were adjacent to and had a significant nexus to East Bay.

Lagoon Landing LLC was also ordered to pay a $1 million community service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a charitable non-profit organization created by Congress. The foundation will use the money to fund projects for the conservation, protection, restoration and management of wetland, marine and coastal resources, with an emphasis on projects benefiting wetlands in and around St. Andrew Bay.

In a separate but related civil settlement, Northwest Florida Holdings Inc., a Florida holding corporation controlled by D’Isernia, entered into an Administrative Compliance Order with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will result in the restoration of approximately 58.63 acres of wetlands and upland buffers. The wetlands will be protected from future development by a conservation easement. The corporation also agreed to study the water quality in and around the Allanton and Nelson Street Shipyards; upgrade storm water protection for the Allanton Shipyard; withdraw applications to convert the launching basin to a marina and create a Planned Unit Development at the Allanton Shipyard; and hire someone to oversee environmental compliance.

In a second separate but related civil settlement, Northwest Florida Holdings Inc. entered into a consent order with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and agreed to conduct storm water corrective actions and water quality studies at the Allanton Shipyard. The corporation will pay a $9,750 civil fine to the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund, and $94,718.25 in severed dredge materials fees to the Florida Internal Improvement Trust Fund.

In a third separate but related civil settlement, Bay Fabrication Inc., a corporation controlled by D’Isernia, entered into a consent order with FDEP and agreed to conduct storm water corrective actions and water quality studies at the Nelson Street Shipyard. The corporation will pay a $6,000 civil fine to the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund, and $76,923 in severed dredge materials fees to the Florida Internal Improvement Trust Fund.

In a fourth separate but related civil settlement, Peninsula Holdings LLC, a corporation controlled by D’Isernia, entered into a Consent Order with FDEP and agreed to conduct storm water improvements at property it owns located at 2500 Nelson Street, Panama City, Fla. The corporation will pay a $1,500 civil fine to the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund.

In a fifth separate but related civil settlement, D’Isernia and his wife Miriam D’Isernia, entered into a consent order with FDEP to remove unauthorized fill materials from property located in Panama City Beach, Fla. Brian and Miriam D’Isernia will pay a $250 civil fine to the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund.

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